New-build home that gives traditional British style an American twist

Interior designer Heidi Caillier believes a bit of chintz is the ideal antidote to grey days on the Pacific Northwest

heidi caillier home fox island living room
Haris Kenjar

What do Fox Island, a small strip of land in the middle of the Puget Sound, and Britain have in common? According to interior designer Heidi Caillier, it’s the effects of the weather on people’s homes. Prone to grey skies and rain, this picturesque stretch of the Pacific Northwest, she says, ‘lends itself particularly well to the sensibilities of traditional British design. You need to feel wrapped up in a warm, comforting, layered space.’

When she first began working on this new-build four-bedroom waterfront home for a young family, it was this idea of creating a cosy atmosphere that preoccupied her thoughts. An expansive bungalow with three-metre-high ceilings, this house could easily have appeared austere or cold, but for its owners, who run several wine labels on the West Coast, that was to be avoided at all costs.

heidi caillier home fox island kitchen
Haris Kenjar

‘It was imperative that it not feel pretentious,’ reveals Heidi. Looking through the couple’s Pinterest boards, she discovered a love of mid-century design, and also the starting point for a palette that was earthy and grounded, but with an enlivening mix of colour and pattern.

The seeds of an interior may have been there, but Heidi wanted to push things further. Her initial scheme for the living room featured the same floral pattern across the sofa, curtains and walls. ‘They did not go for that,’ she says with a laugh, but her compromise, which sees a ‘Togo’ sofa dressed in blue Scalamandré fabric paired with a matching lampshade and footstool, is not so very far from that all-guns-blazing beginning.

heidi caillier home fox island cloakroom
Haris Kenjar

‘I am 100 per cent onboard with chintz,’ admits Heidi. ‘I hold myself back with pattern sometimes because clients don’t always go for it, but I am a firm believer that everything can go together.’

heidi caillier home fox island bathroom
Haris Kenjar

In this home, that means several bold florals, as well as plaids and textured wallpapers. Adding to that eclectic mix is a wealth of furniture from varied eras. ‘I always try to add one piece of vintage to every room,’ says Heidi. ‘Here, there’s much more.’ Like when it came to adding decorative touches, her intention was to create layers – mid-century next to modern, traditional beside trend-setting.

‘I will say, in general, I’m more drawn to traditional furniture shapes (things that feel more full and stuffed),’ she says, ‘but when it comes to lighting, I tend to prefer a more modern fixture. I think it cuts through some of the seriousness.’

heidi caillier home fox island bedroom
Haris Kenjar

Often full of guests – whether friends from college (the owners both grew up in nearby Seattle and attended school there) or colleagues stopping by for a wine-tasting – serious is a criticism that could never be levelled at this home. If there were one word that could be used to describe it, Heidi would choose ‘comfortable’. ‘I think the essence of comfort is a home that you can make memories in. It’s about creating a backdrop for life.’

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